Health, medicine and treatment in early modern North India: exploring the early Hindi medicinal manuscripts of the Wellcome Collection

Year of award: 2018


  • Adrian Plau

Project summary

The ideas and practices surrounding health and medicine in pre-modern South Asia attracts broad interest, yet the early modern period remains overlooked. 

I will use Wellcome's archive of manuscripts in the vernaculars of early-modern North India to present a range of previously unstudied materials to academics and the public. Focusing on the popular vernacular will allow me to see which diseases worried ordinary merchants, which diagnostic practices were deemed to be effective across regions and which recipes were thought to be worth copying.

I will use comparative philological practices to identify commonalities and individualities in the archive of early-modern Hindi manuscripts and report the findings in a peer-reviewed journal article. I will also transcribe, use the text coding initiative, tag and upload the relevant manuscripts and passages to a searchable, open-access database for scholars and the public to explore the circulation of ideas and practices relating to health, medicine and treatment in early modern North India.